More than one way to go about getting a career...

By Liam, Work Experience

There is more than one way to go about getting a career. If you are eighteen, for example, have completed some sort of college apprenticeship and fancy yourself as a handy tradesman, then by all means go for it. Why wait, if you do not want to? But there are other options available.

As a school student, I always believed that it had to be done immediately. I knew that I wanted to be a writer, I knew I wanted it to be creative work, and just assumed that because I knew those things then I had to start right away. It was only at University that I realised I was still young, wanted to see some of the world and that, actually, I could wait for a bit.

So that’s exactly what I did. I went to America, saw some sights and made some memories that will last me a lifetime. New York, Florida, Las Vegas, Los Angeles. Incredible. I loved both the travelling and the freedom.

Of course, I am not suggesting that you should never work, nor am I recommending laziness. I worked before I went to the States and I worked again after. I had a job in a pub for two months, and have just finished pushing out planes at Gatwick Airport. Both enjoyable jobs, neither what I want to do long-term.

It is only now, nearly a year on from graduating, that I am beginning to make some tracks into a career. Some work experience at Microsoft is where, in my own mind, my work life will really begin.

But I have always been prepared. I had my CV in place, as strong and professional as I could make it, adding to it whenever I got more work. I knew that the jobs I wanted would be tough to find. Writing is a competitive field whichever way you look to go, and I knew I had to do everything I could. Even then I was well aware that, with no experience, the odds of success were slim.

So I looked for work experience instead, a place where I would be able to learn and then practise the skills that I would need later on. I came into Microsoft with a determination to get as much out of it as possible. And that is the biggest piece of advice I could possibly give to students of any age: if you get a chance, regardless of what job it is, then go for it.

Prove to people that you are good at this and that you are eager to improve further. Ask for opportunities, for responsibilities, and to be guided on how to achieve the best results. I have never yet, in any of the very different work environments I have been in, known a person to refuse. The more you want to do, the better you will look, and asking for advice at the beginning shows that you want to do it right.

Whilst I have been here I have participated in as much as possible, have learnt a great deal about many different areas. Sales, Marketing, Communications and PR are just some of the areas I have seen. I have sat in on important sales meetings, helped to host company events and have written many official pieces. A lot of things to discuss in future interviews.

It has been a great experience, and I am certain it will play a big role in securing me the job I want.

And now when I get that job, I can start it with no regrets. That is not to say nobody should go straight into a long-term career from education, just that nobody has to. Some choose to and good luck to them, but me, I wanted to wait. I wanted a gap between education and career, then opted to pick up relevant skills rather than go from one interview to another.

It isn’t the way everybody would choose, and I don’t proclaim that it is any better than another route into work, but I am pretty sure it will not have done me any harm.

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